Our Services

Family Law

Property Settlement

When married or de facto couples separate they will typically need to divide, transfer or sell property so they are able to move on financially with their lives. This is commonly referred to as a ‘property settlement’.

The types of items that might be dealt with in a property settlement include:

  • Real Estate
  • Bank Accounts
  • Cash
  • Vehicles
  • Household Furniture and Contents
  • Shares
  • Investments
  • Superannuation
  • Interests in a Business or Trust
  • Inheritances
  • Debts including Mortgages, Loans or Credit Cards

Our approach to every property settlement case is in line with our commitments. We work closely with our clients to ensure they achieve their desired outcome in the most efficient way possible.

It is crucial that separated couples get legal advice about their entitlement and options to a property settlement before dividing, transferring or selling property.

Parenting

Parenting after any separation can have its challenges. Children can be deeply affected by separation and parents must first and foremost decide on important issues for their children relating to:

  • Living Arrangements
  • Communication
  • Changeover
  • Overseas Travel
  • Schooling
  • School Holidays
  • Medical
  • Religion
  • Extracurricular Activities
  • Special Occasions such as Birthdays, Easter or Christmas

Based on our experience, early and informed decisions about these issues will create a healthy and cooperative parenting environment for children.

We understand that for many parents going through a separation, it can be an extremely difficult and unsettling time. At Martens Legal we guide parents through the above issues in an informed and considered manner.

We are able to offer our clients many different approaches depending on their situation and desired outcomes. Approaches will typically involve some form of negotiation such as Family Dispute Resolution Mediation to try to resolve any parenting issues in dispute. As a last resort and where parents simply cannot agree on an issue, it may be necessary for the parents to apply to Court.

Relocation & Recovery

The issue of relocation arises when one parent wishes to change the children’s place of residence and it will affect the children’s relationship with the other parent.

There are also cases where a parent has already taken it upon themselves to relocate with the children without any agreement from the other parent. That other parent may have recourse to have the children returned to his or her former place of residence.

Martens Legal has assisted clients in cases involving both relocations and recoveries:

  • Within Queensland such as Brisbane to the Gold Coast; or
  • Interstate such as Queensland to Western Australia; or
  • Internationally to places such as New Zealand, the United Kingdom or Germany.

The outcome of each relocation or recovery case will depend on the individual circumstances of that family dynamic.

It is crucial that parents get urgent legal advice if any of the below applies to them:

  • They want to relocate with the children;
  • They do not agree to the relocation;
  • They have already relocated with the children; or
  • Their former spouse has already relocated with the children and they do not agree.

Child Support

In Australia, the majority of cases relating to child support are dealt with by parents directly through the Department of Human Services (DHS), without assistance from a lawyer. However, the child support formula under the DHS is not perfect.

There are other mechanisms available for parents that are more than often better suited to their individual needs. A popular child support tool used by parents is a Private Child Support Agreement. This Agreement can take into account expenses such as private school fees, healthcare and extra-curricular expenses that are not ordinarily dealt with through the DHS.

At Martens Legal we act for clients in cases relating to:

  • The preparation of Private Child Support Agreements;
  • Collection and recovery of child support from non-payers;
  • Orders for the payment of child support by lump sum; and
  • Recovery of child support abroad.

Divorce

When applying for a divorce in Australia, the law does not consider the cause of the marriage breakdown. The only requirement is that it must be demonstrated that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. To do so, parties must satisfy the Court that they have separated and continued to live separately for a period of 12 months.

There are special requirements when applying to Court for a divorce if the marriage was less than 2 years or if there are children of the marriage under the age of 18.

Divorce is usually the last step in a family law matter and marks the legal end to a marriage. However, it does not deal with issues such as the division, transfer or sale of property (known as a Property Settlement), spousal maintenance, parenting or child support. These issues are dealt with separately.

Martens Legal has experience in assisting clients to resolve all issues surrounding a separation, including divorce.

De Facto Relationships

Since March 2009 de facto separated couples have the right to a Property Settlement and Spousal Maintenance just like married couples.

A couple will be considered to be in a de facto relationship if:

  • They are not married to each other;
  • They are not related by family; and
  • They have a relationship as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis.

A de facto relationship can therefore exist between the same sex or different sex, and can even include situations where one party is already legally married to someone else or is in another de facto relationship.

The Court will consider a number of factors to determine if people are in a de facto relationship or just dating, including:

  • The length of the relationship;
  • The nature and extent of common residence;
  • Whether a sexual relationship exists;
  • The degree of financial dependence and support;
  • Ownership, use and acquisition of property;
  • Degree of mutual commitment to a shared life;
  • Care and support of children;
  • Reputation and public aspects of the relationship; and
  • Whether the relationship is or was a registered relationship under the relevant legislation.

At Martens Legal we have assisted many people in a de facto relationship to resolve all issues surrounding their separation.

Spousal Maintenance

After separation or divorce, a person may still have a responsibility to financially assist their former spouse (whether married or de facto), if that person cannot meet their own reasonable expenses from their personal income or assets.

The extent of the support to the former spouse will depend on what the other party can afford to pay.

The Court will consider the following when deciding a spousal maintenance case:

  • Age and health;
  • Income and assets;
  • Ability to work;
  • What is a suitable standard of living; and
  • Who the children under 18 years of age or adult children who are disabled live with.

It is important to note that spousal maintenance is not child support. Child support is a separate payment and is paid for the benefit of children.

The right to the payment of spousal maintenance ends if:

  • A person gets married again, unless there are special circumstances;
  • The financial situation improves; or
  • The responsibility for caring for a child/children changes significantly.

At Martens Legal spousal maintenance is a common issue that is addressed as part of resolving all issues relating to a separation.

International Matters

At Martens Legal we have acted for clients in a broad range of international family law related cases, including:

  • Providing advice to determine the most advantageous country in which to conduct the case where there are assets in more than one country;
  • Property settlements involving assets and income in a variety of countries;
  • Child support issues including enforcing payment from overseas parents and child support agreements;
  • Parenting arrangements where parents live in different countries; and
  • Prosecution of international child abduction cases under The Hague Convention.

We are able to communicate with our clients through all forms of electronic communication to ensure that they are informed and able to communicate adequately with us.

Financial Agreements

A Financial Agreement provides a way for people to protect their assets.

A Financial Agreement is a written legal document that sets out the division of a couple’s assets should they separate. The assets affected can include the assets owned by each individual at the start of the relationship, as well as any assets they acquire during their relationship.

It can also address the amount (if any) of spousal maintenance will be paid should the relationship end.

The types of situations that people can enter into a Financial Agreement includes:

  • In contemplation of a marriage;
  • In contemplation of a de facto relationship;
  • During a marriage;
  • During a de facto relationship;
  • After divorce; or
  • After a breakdown of a de facto relationship.

These types of agreements must be prepared by a lawyer. This is because people entering into a Financial Agreement must comply with the strict requirements in order for it to be legal and binding.